What did a Happy Meal ever do to Melanie Warner? In March the Business & Media Institute showed you how The New York Times advertising reporter found nothing funny in humorous beer ads. Now she’s at it again, pooh-poohing the toys that come with the child-sized meals sold at McDonald’s (NYSE: MCD)
As BMI documented then, Warner penned a two-column story, “Critics Say Beer Spots Exploit Loopholes” in the Business Day section of the March 29 paper. “The beer code has loopholes that are big enough to drive a team of Clydesdales through,” Marin Institute’s Laurie Leiber complained to Warner, who gave Leiber’s anti-alcohol group a pass by describing it as “an organization that keeps watch over the alcoholic industry.”
“When General Motors introduced the three-ton, 11-miles-to-the-gallon Hummer H2 four years ago, it redefined American extravagance,” Warner disapprovingly opened her column.
Although high gas prices have led to declining sales for the behemoth SUV “McDonald’s, however, appears not to have gotten the message,” Warner sighed.
Perhaps, she would have been happier with a Prius, or maybe the electric car, if only
“This week,” Warner whined, McDonald’s began its “Hummer of a Summer” promotion, where “children will be able to collect eight different Hummers” as toys included with the purchase of a Happy Meal.
“Not surprisingly, environmental groups are appalled,” the advertising reporter added, allowing the Sierra Club’s Brendan Bell to virtually audition for spokesman at the Center for Science in the Public Interest by calling the toys as irresponsible as “dipping a Big Mac in the fry oil and serving it to your kids.”
Unsatisfied with pushing two boiler-plate liberal talking points, Warner sought to find a conservative-sounding talking point. There has to be some way to make toy Hummers a downright un-American thing for kids to play with.
“With toy Hummers, McDonald’s is ‘sending a message to children that utter waste of this precious resource that is causing us such national security problems is OK.,’ Warner quoted Anne Korin of the Washington-based Institute for the Analysis of Global Security.
Nowhere in her story did Warner interview a child, who might have reminded her that none of the McDonald’s Hummers use any gasoline.
Following Warner’s lead, perhaps every McDonald’s Happy Meal should include a coloring book version of Al Gore’s exciting book “An Inconvenient Truth.”